Families awarded damages by Japanese court over schoolbus that drove into tsunami
Tuesday 17 September 2013
A court in Japan has awarded 270 million yen (£1.7m) to parents of four children killed when their nursery school bus carried them into the path of the March 2011 tsunami.
The ruling by the Sendai District Court is the first to award damages over deaths resulting from the disaster, which claimed more than 18,000 lives.
The bus from Hiyori Kindergarten in Ishinomaki City, which lost nearly 6,000 residents in the disaster, took a seaside road to ferry 12 children home, after a tsunami warning to avoid coastal areas had been issued.
Seven children had been dropped off before the bus was hit by the tsunami, killing the five remaining children and the driver.
The kindergarten itself was on high ground, 75ft (23m) above sea level, and the children would have survived if they had remained there. Staff at the kindergarten reported that disaster drills, which are standard practice at Japanese schools, had not been conducted.
Lawyers for the private kindergarten’s parent company, Hasegawa Gakuin, claimed that the head teacher who sent the bus on its usual route couldn’t have known that such a large tsunami would strike. However, the presiding judge, Norio Saiki, ruled that the kindergarten staff should have expected a tsunami after such a massive earthquake had just occurred.
“The kindergarten head failed to collect information and sent the bus seaward, which resulted in the loss of the children’s lives,” said Judge Saiki in his judgement.
The families of four of the children had asked for 270 million yen (£1.7m) in their suit, which was filed in August 2011. There are currently eight damages suits against the operators of businesses and other facilities in the disaster-affected areas working their way through Japan’s notoriously slow-moving legal system.
- 1 Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
- 3 Tube strike: This pedestrian-friendly map tells you the time it takes to walk between stations
- 4 Pamplona Running of the Bulls 2015: Three men gored and 10 hospitalised on first day of festival
- 5 Sarah Jessica Parker explains why she is not a feminist: 'It's not just about women now'
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis: Greek future in the euro slips into deeper uncertainty as Alexis Tsipras arrives at emergency talks without a written plan
Man soars over Calgary after tying 110 balloons filled with helium to his lawn chair for PR stunt, gets arrested for mischief
Tube strike: This pedestrian-friendly map tells you the time it takes to walk between stations
Pamplona Running of the Bulls 2015: Three men gored and 10 hospitalised on first day of festival
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...